Star Wars Galaxies
Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games have been around for about a decade now since the Internet started becoming more pervasive. I never really got it. I guess it was because most of the MMO games out there were based on fantasy/D&D genres which I really never could immerse myself into. The other thing was that the only people I knew who played MMO games were really (and I mean REALLY) into the game they were playing and I did not identify with them either.
About 3 years ago, Star Wars Galaxies appeared. I looked into it, but it seemed overly complex and complicated to get into and looked to be half chore and half entertainment. The reviews didn’t help either. That was too bad, because I love the whole Star Wars universe and environment and it is a genre I can definitely get into.
A few months ago I read that Sony Online Entertainment (the company that runs SWG) revamped the game to make it more accessible. They even had a 10 day free trial to try out the game before they asked for any money. I happily downloaded the trial, installed it and was about to play when I made a big mistake – I read the reviews of the new revamp.
Here’s what I learned from the reviews:
- SOE destroyed the game.
- It was bad before, but it is worse now.
- It is an insult to all things Star Wars.
- LucasArts should pull the license from SOE and start over.
- It’s too geared to new players.
I shelved the game and never tried it.
About a month ago, looking for a new challenge, I started up the trial. I wanted to see just how bad it was. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed the trial. I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much, I signed up for a month. I’m still enjoying it.
(Here’s where people will probably disagree with me)
I see this game as an extension of the wildly popular Knights of the Old Republic games. It is an open ended universe where you decide what you want to do and how you want to do it. There are nine different professions to choose from and each interacts with the universe in different ways. There are combat characters who gain experience via battle and non-combat characters who gain experience though building, selling trading, crafting or entertaining.
It’s set in the time period just after the first Star Wars movie (or episode IV) so there are plenty of Imperials and Rebels running around. You can choose to be one of these factions if you want, or you can stay freelance.
This is something I never expected from an MMO – I’m having fun.
If you are into the whole Star Wars universe and like RPG type games, I would recommend downloading the trial and giving the game a try.
Which just leaves me with one question – why do I like the game where the reviews are so, so, negative? It took me a while but I think I have some answers:
- Some of the most negative comments are coming from veteran players who immersed themselves in the original incarnation of the game. When it was revamped, a lot of things change and we all know many people who don’t like change. Instead of seeing it as a new playing environment with new challenges, they completely lost the point. Games should appeal to both the new and the veteran player. You can’t just keep making a game better for the veterans without appealing to new players as well.
- There are those who hold the original trilogy of movies sacred and nothing can top them. Nothing compares to the feeling they had as a 12 year old watching Star Wars the first time on the big screen. They are the people who felt they had to trash the changes made to the original movies in the 90s. And the second trilogy (episodes I, II, and III) were so inferior to the first. These people will never be pleased because nothing will match the awe and wonder the original movies inspired in a 12 year old in the late 1970s.
Forget trying to compare things that are not comparable. For me games are not about the authenticity, the adherence to the genre/universe/story, or how many widgets it takes to make a doodad. I measure games by how much entertainment and enjoyment I get out of them.
Based on that criteria, Star Wars Galaxies rates an 8.5 out of 10.